Become a power networker

I’ve been a power networker all my life. I think it’s my calling to connect with people. While I think in-person meetings are still best, I’ve been using some form or another of social media since 2002. At first, I joined several “chat rooms” with areas of interest to me. Then I started using LinkedIn way back when and, like others, I made some great business connections as it grew.

We now live and work in a 24/7 online digital world. Social media is becoming our virtual water cooler and the fine art of “schmoozing” is changing. Today, technology is connecting us and our businesses, so many professionals now take the time to identify the right social networking community where they can make the most happen.

Through advertising and sponsorships — and active participation — some of my friends in the corporate world are using social networking as a business development tool. They’re using it as the tool for getting noticed and engaging with prospective customers in a non-aggressive way. The biggest “complaint” I hear is that people realize quickly that this takes time and patience to do right.

Online social networks are great for keeping your business top of mind for others; however, I hope it will never become a substitute for face-to-face interactions. Even with social media, there’s always an opportunity to arrange a personal meeting with the people you want to cultivate as new friends and clients. Online social networks are great for collecting information about the personal network you already have or want to develop, too.

Especially for those of us who don’t like to leave our comfort zones, networking through social media can make it easier to find prospective customers, make business connections, re-connect with old friends, and even create relationships with new friends and mentors. Power networkers, like me, are kind of like “social butterflies.” We think that the secret to building a lifelong community of friends, contacts, mentors, and colleagues still comes from getting out, meeting new people, and building lasting relationships one at a time. This kind of interaction is fun for us. 

Dane County offers so many opportunities to get out and meet people. At certain times of the year, it seems like there’s never a month that goes by without several functions offering the chance to meet new people. Right now, from Concerts on the Square to Concerts on the Rooftop — not to mention Dane Dances, 4th of July festivities, In Business events, church, and chamber of commerce events — the opportunity to network is just waiting for you to show up. Hope to see you soon at an upcoming event. Happy networking!

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